Henry Gilbey is a television presenter, fishing writer and photographer who specialises in capturing the essence of sport fishing around the world for multiple magazines, books and tackle companies. When he’s not travelling the world for work, you will find him either out fishing, walking his sheepdog, or combining the two. We caught up with Henry Gilbey to find out more about his love of the sport and his favourite places to fish in the US.
How did you first get into fishing and how did it come to influence your life?
“My grandmother gave my cousin and I a Woolworths fishing starter kit when I was seven years old, and then we went fishing up in Scotland with her that summer. I can’t explain why, but from the off I just got the whole fishing thing, whereas my cousin didn’t at all. Since then, fishing has been a complete and utter obsession for me. My choice of university was governed by the fishing I would have on my doorstep (Plymouth) over the actual subjects on offer, and I worked out during my time there that I had better try and work within the sport fishing industry if I was to stand any chance of living longer term with my obsession.”
What kind of fishing do you enjoy the most?
“Lure fishing for bass. It’s got me really badly and I am obsessing about it as much as I have obsessed about any kind of fishing since I got into it. It helps that I live right in the middle of some pretty good bass fishing. My work takes me all around the world and I just have a thing for wild places and wild fish. Give me a fish such as a kob on a desolate southern Angolan beach and I am about as happy as a man can be.”
Which fish do you find the most challenging to catch?
“I think it’s giant trevally (known as a GT) that are the most insane fish I have ever come across. I have never seen a fish hit a fly or lure with such incredible levels of aggression, and they fight so hard you can’t quite believe a fish can behave like that.”
What are the current challenges and issues impacting fishing around the world?
“Overfishing, plain and simple. Too many people taking too many fish from oceans, rivers and lakes, with often a scant level of regard for the future, and we are some of the worst culprits here in northern Europe.”
Different situations call for different equipment, but what’s your go-to rod and reel?
“Something like a 9′ long lure rod that comes from Japan most likely, with a spinning reel to match – pretty much perfect for bass fishing from the shore. I am a hopeless fishing tackle tart.”
What piece of kit are you never without?
“At least one digital SLR camera body and a few lenses. I can’t ever, ever go fishing without camera gear. We are out there so often that we see the best light and conditions, much more so than most other people – I can’t contemplate not being able to photograph it.”
What are your top 10 fishing spots in the US?
- “The Florida Keys: They are crawling with fish and this vast area is so well managed as a healthy recreational sport fishery. It’s a model that many other parts of the world could learn from.
- Montana Rivers: I have only been there once, to photograph some fly fishing for trout, and I am dying to get back. “¨
- Martha’s Vineyard: Striped bass fishing is remarkably similar to our bass fishing here in northern Europe, except stripers, as they are known, grow somewhat larger and are generally more prolific.
- North West Gulf Coast of Florida: Migrating tarpon – no need to say more. One of the world’s ultimate sporting fish. “¨
- Cape Cod: I so want to fish and photograph here for striped bass. “¨
- Louisiana Marshes: The winter redfish fishery in those vast saltwater marshes is something I need to go and see. “¨
- Oregon Rivers: Steelhead fishing. I have photographed these mighty fish up in Canada, so I am due a trip over to the west coast of the US sometime soon.
- Wyoming Rivers: As with Montana, it’s a part of the US I am desperate to see, and they have some awesome trout fishing there. “¨
- Lakes and Rivers of North Georgia: It really interests me that there’s such a prolific”¨ fishery for striped bass in freshwater in various parts of the US, and they get some huge stripers in some of the lakes and rivers up in the northern part of Georgia. “¨
- Montauk: Any shore angler must surely want to head out to Long Island and fish for autumn striped bass as they migrate past Montauk. One day!!” “¨
As a fisherman and photographer, where has totally blown your mind?
“The ultra-remote atolls of the Seychelles, as I call them. Hundreds of miles away from Mahe are a group of pristine atolls that offer some of the best saltwater fly fishing to be found anywhere on earth. Not easy to get to, loaded with sharks, pretty expensive, and the fishing is insane. As a photographer, it always fascinates me how incredible saltwater flats can look when that sun is high in the sky and lighting them up – and then how perfectly ordinary they can look when the sun is low or the light is bad.”
Where would you really like to go that you haven’t been to yet?
“New Zealand, to photograph some of their trout fishing. Arguably the finest trout fishing on earth in some of the most amazing locations you could ever hope to fish. I actually worry about going to New Zealand, in that I think I might like it so much that I never come home again…”
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Have you been to any of Henry Gilbey’s favourite fishing spots? Where do you like to go fishing in the US? Let us know in the comments section below.
Written by Tremayne Carew Pole